Re-viewing 'Survivors' (BBC, 1975-77): Gender, genre and national anxiety

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Apocalyptic narratives and concepts have traditionally been associated with religious eschatologies, but secular narratives that revolve around cataclysmic disaster or one sort of another have become increasingly prevalent in popular culture. Commonly regarded as falling under the rubric of the science fiction genre, the secular 'apocalyptic' concerns itself with the lead up to a potentially devastating disaster. However, it is the 'post-apocalyptic' that is of most concern in this article: a narrative variant in science fiction that typically follows the struggles of a single protagonist or band of random characters as they attempt to adjust to an uncertain future in a world transformed by a cataclysmic event. While academic interest in this sub-genre has grown over recent years, there has been a substantial emphasis on films and novels. It is my contention that the post-apocalyptic has long provided a fictional narrative setting for drama series, such that it constitutes a recognisable television sub-genre, worthy of study in its own right - a research project that I am currently undertaking. The two-fold aim of this article is concerned with a) bringing the post-apocalyptic television series to the fore in this field of study and b) signalling the need for a more detailed and nuanced account of the impact of feminism upon this sub-genre. In order to do this I have chosen to focus upon the 1970s, BBC series 'Survivors' (BBC 1, 1975-77) as a case study programme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-414
Number of pages14
JournalQuarterly Review of Film and Video
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014

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